On April 29 at 7 pm., DePauw International Student Association (DISA), DePauw China Connection (DCC), and Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) hosted a formal at the DePauw Inn Ballroom to celebrate the end of the semester.
According to Junior Danny Nguyen, co-president of DISA, the main purpose of the event was to give international students the opportunity to feel connected to their communities and get exposed to formals, a big part of American culture.
“It is really important to have international students be represented at DePauw. I feel like they're overlooked and set aside from these other events like formals, especially in Greek life because the majority of the international students are not in Greek life,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen added that the event was open to both domestic and international students and it was a good way for domestic students to get exposed to other cultures.
Nguyen believes that since the attendees were mostly Asian, it will be beneficial to diversify international student events and encourage other diverse student organizations such as South Asian Student Association (SAS), Muslim Student Association (MSA), and African Student Association (ASS) to join in the future.
This year’s International Formal looked a little different compared to those in past years. Originally, DISA would host formals at a venue in Indianapolis and rent a bus. However, as Nguyen pointed out, this put a limit on the number of attendees, making the events less inclusive. As a result, DISA and other student organizations decided to host the formal at the Inn at DePauw.
“We wanted to keep it more open for anybody, not only just internationals, but people just passing by or those who just wanted to be part of it like Greencastle locals,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen added that the Inn at DePauw catered the event and served regular non-ethnic food and bubble tea. However, there were some challenges with catering.
“There was not enough food. There were at least a couple of tables that didn't get bubble tea. For the next international [formal], we’ll order more bubble tea,” Nguyen said. “I wish we had ordered more international food. We didn't do it because it was going to be more expensive.”
From the DCC standpoint, first-year Shaelyn Xie, DCC President, said that her organization wanted to host one last event before the end of the semester “as a way to help students relieve stress.”
First-year Hairu Zeng, the Public Relations Intern for the DCC further added that the DCC was motivated to collaborate with DISA and VSA because the larger budget would allow for more students to participate in the event. In addition, she believes that the scale of the event also allowed for more people to learn about the DCC.
“The DCC isn’t as well-known as DISA so we hope through the event people are able to learn more about our organization,” Zeng said.
According to first-year Larry Nguyen, “the international formal was a great chance for international students to interact with each other and share a good time after a year at DePauw. It gave us a chance to look back and talk about fun and difficult times throughout the semester. It was a wonderful night.”
Senior Mishal Ali thinks that the event allowed international students to create a campus-wide event and build a community across different cultures.
“As a senior, I've seen the representation of international students in different areas of the Depauw experience increase and I'm hopeful for a future where the gap between the international student community and the domestic student population is negligibly small, if any,” Ali said.